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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 5
October 1, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *TEN at NE Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
*ARZ at DAL *MIN at ATL DET at SF *CLE at PIT Ravens
CIN at BUF *NO at CAR WAS at PHI Mon 9 PM Texans
*DEN at KC OAK at CHI *SD at JAX *IND at TB Jets
MIA at NYG SEA at GB   *updated Rams
   
Cincinnati vs Buffalo Sun, Oct 5; 1 PM on CBS at Ralph Wilson Stadium
  Cincinnati Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 0 0 200,1
RB Rudi Johnson 70,1 10 0
TE Matt Schobel 0 40 0
WR Peter Warrick 0 50 0
WR Kelly Washington 0 20 0
WR Chad Johnson 0 70,1 0
  Buffalo Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 240,2
RB Travis Henry 40 0 0
RB Joe Burns 10 10 0
TE M. Campbell 0 20 0
WR Eric Moulds 0 80,1 0
WR Josh Reed 0 30 0
WR Bobby Shaw 0 60,1 0


Game Prediction: CIN 14, BUF 20

Update: Travis Henry has returned to practice after missing last week with torn cartilage in his chest. He is listed as questionable to play this week against the Bengals but is optimistic that he will be able to play since his chest has improved. He will still be playing with pain, but appears likely to play. I am adjusting the projections accordingly.

Well that didn't take too long.

The Bengals come off their first win of the season, defeating the Browns 21-14 in Cleveland. The amusing fact is that now the Bengals are only one game out of first place in the AFC North.

Jon Kitna faced a defense that had not surrendered a passing touchdown and left town after throwing three scores. Chad Johnson (3-67, 2 TDs) only had six passes thrown to him in the game but certainly made the most of them, his second touchdown coming from 55 yards out as the defender chose the wrong moment to turn his head. Johnson leads the AFC with 370 receiving yards and his three touchdowns are only behind Marvin Harrison thanks to New Orleans.

Corey Dillon only had four carries for 20 yards before again aggravating his strained groin and being pulled from the game. It is most likely that he will be held out this week in order to fully heal up since the Bengals have their bye next week. He was replaced by Rudi Johnson who ran for 51 yards on 15 carries. The younger Johnson is a more effective runner than Brandon Bennett and will again take over the starting spot while Dillon is gone.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been our with a hamstring problem this season but could make an appearance in this game. Also Matt Schobel is expected to return from his hamstring strain and can face his brother, DE Aaron Schobel. The last full game that Matt played was the season opener when he had four catches for 97 yards. The Bengals consistently throw about seven passes per game to the tight end position and last week Tony Stewart (5-56) had the yards and Reggie Kelly had the touchdown on his one catch in the endzone.

The Bills have fallen to 2-2 on the season and after scoring 69 points in the first two games, the offense has only produced 20 in the past two games. Drew Bledsoe bounced back from his horrible game in Miami to throw for 296 yards and one touchdown against the Eagles. Eric Moulds led receivers with eight catches for 114 yards and Josh Reed continued to disappoint. Reed only managed one catch for nine yards while Bobby Shaw turned in a big eight catch, 92 yard effort along with the lone passing score. It was telling when Shaw, and not Reed, was in the offense and made a target when the Bills reached the goal line.

The Bills already had a rushing problem that was cloaked by several short scores by Travis Henry and now that he is out nursing a rib injury, the Bills cannot even get that much. Joe Burns covered for Henry last week and gained only 17 yards on eight carries before the Bills entirely abandoned the running game. Henry could still miss a few more games and for this week, it is assumed Burns gets the call again.

Cincinnati has been competitive in the last three games which is not something that Buffalo can also claim. This is sort of a big game in a little way. The Bengals could do wonders for their confidence by winning not only consecutive games, but consecutive road games. The Bills are certainly vulnerable now with no running game to take advantage of the only relative weakness in the Bengals defense. In the end, look for a very tight game that favors the passing of Bledsoe more than Kitna but do not be surprised when the Bengals make this a far tougher game than they would have in the past.

CIN
BUF
2003 Averages
BUF
CIN
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
235
174
Pass yards
235
185
1.5
0.5
Pass TDs
1.0
0.8
1.3
1.5
Interceptions
1.0
1.3
5
18
Rush yards
2
3
0.0
0.3
Rush TDs
0.3
0.0
----
----
RB's
----
----
70
115
Rush yards
50
116
0.3
0.8
Rush TDs
1.3
1.0
18
31
Receive yards
27
40
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
----
----
WR's
----
----
159
112
Receive yards
179
133
1.3
0.5
Receive TD's
0.8
0.5
----
----
TE's
----
----
58
29
Receive yards
29
12
0.3
0.0
Receive TD's
0.3
0.0
----
----
PK's
----
----
1.0
1.3
Field Goals
0.5
1.8
1.8
1.5
Extra Points
3.0
2.3
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
0.0
0.5
Fumbles
0.3
0.5
1.3
1.0
Interceptions
1.5
1.3
0.0
0.0
Touchdowns
0.5
0.5
1.0
2.0
Sacks
2.0
2.5
0.0
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Bengals (1-3)
Score Opp.
10-30 DEN
20-23 @OAK
10-17 PIT
21-14 @CLE
Week 5 @BUF
Week 6 BYE
Week 7 BAL
Week 8 SEA
Week 9 @ARZ
Week 10 HOU
Week 11 KC
Week 12 @SD
Week 13 @PIT
Week 14 @BAL
Week 15 SF
Week 16 @STL
Week 17 CLE
Bills (2-2)
Score Opp.
31-0 NE
38-17 @JAX
7-17 @MIA
13-23 PHI
Week 5 CIN
Week 6 @NYJ
Week 7 WAS
Week 8 @KC
Week 9 BYE
Week 10 @DAL
Week 11 HOU
Week 12 IND
Week 13 @NYG
Week 14 NYJ
Week 15 @TEN
Week 16 MIA
Week 17 @NE
(Statistics are game averages from current season )